Pune-based private rocket start-up, Astrophel Aerospace, will soon test its cryogenic engine that would power its Astra rocket, said the promoters.
“We have completed the injector cold and hot flow tests. The engine design has been completed and soon testing will happen,” Suyash Bafna, Founder and CEO told IANS.
Astrophel Aerospace is promoted by three young persons – Bafna, Taj Baba, Co-Founder and CTO and Immanuel Louis, Co-Founder and COO.
Bootstrapped or running their startup with their own funds, the ‘Amar, Akbar, Anthony’ of the Indian space sector first wants to test their rocket’s cryogenic engine before approaching the investors for funds.
“Once the engine is hot fired, the company valuation will be better. We plan to have a sub-orbital launch (with dummy payload) and then go for major investment,” Louis told IANS.
The company plans to realise its full rocket in three/four years time.
According to Louis, the plan is to do the hot test of the cryogenic engine before Diwali or in November. The rocket’s first stage will be powered mostly by solid fuel, second by liquid and the final third stage will be the cryogenic.
According to Bafna, their Potenia C1 engine is expected to provide good thrust levels for the rocket to travel to low earth orbit with 300 kg luggage.
“Our cryogenic engine will give a minimum of three kilo Newton thrust which is good for lifting and delivering the payload,” Louis remarked.
While other rocket startups are going in for 3D printing of their engines, Astrophel Aerospace is going the traditional route as it is cost effective and considered to be more accurate, Louis said.
Astrophel Aerospace is also into online education conducting courses on rocketry to generate revenues for operations and research and development.
Queried about approaching the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to use their facilities for testing and validation, Louis and Bafna said they are not in a position to afford the charges at present.